Monday's soccer news starts with the World Cup finale. France took the title 4-2 over Croatia in a game that left world soccer wondering what they'd seen from the new champions. France spent much of the game looking like a team unwilling to fully commit. Croatia ended with more possession 66% to 34%, twice the shots 14 to 7, 528 passes to 289, and higher passing accuracy 83% to 68%. Where France had the edge was in shots on goal, 6 to 4, and obviously on the scoreboard.
It doesn't necessarily require getting into advanced stats and ways to explain away possession and passing. France looked like a team that could be doing more and chose not to. That may end up being the takeaway from a run that ended with them lifting the World Cup. It's a pragmatic approach that wasn't about getting the most from the squad in the traditional sense. It also didn't set a blueprint for the next four years of international soccer.
France coach Didier Deschamps put the focus on tactics, but not in the way we're used to from World Cup champions. This isn't a revolution like tiki-taka or the end result of a process like Jogi Low's Germany. Instead, it's an object lesson for what a coach can do when they put in tactical constraints.
The downside for any coach looking to learn from France is also obvious. They gave up a lot in exchange for an own-goal and a video assistant replay penalty call that some found unfair. Those goals certainly count, setting up what France did in the second-half. It also sets up a counterargument from Croatia who pushed their best game forward. There's a solid point worth making that Croatia taught the more applicable lesson to the rest of the world.
I congratulate France on their title," Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic said. "And I also have to congratulate my players. This was maybe the best game we played in this tournament; we controlled the match. But against a side as strong as France, you must not make mistakes. We are a bit sad but we have to be proud as well for what we've done."
The Guardian's Jorge Valdano explains the difference between the tactics at this World Cup. Zonal Marking's tactical look at the final. SI.com's Grant Wahl makes the case for the 2018 World Cup. The Independent's Jonathan Liew focus on what the games mean for people.
Also in the soccer news, Jose Torres (Tigres) and Jorge Villafana (Santos) weren't involved in Tigres' 4-0 win over Santos Laguna in the Campeon de Campeons game at StubHub Center on Sunday. The meeting between the Liga MX 2017 Apertura winners and the 2018 Clausura winners advances Tigres to the Campeones Cup against MLS champions Toronto FC. That game is scheduled for September 19 at Toronto's BMO Field.
The Campeon de Campeons was part of a doubleheader that also featured the Supercopa MX between Copa MX winners Monterrey and Ventura Alvarado's Necaxa. Francisco Cordova scored in the 25th minute for Necaxa's 1-0 win. Alvarado started. The 2018 Apertura season begins on Friday.
MLSsoccer.com's Matthew Doyle reviews week 20 in MLS. Washington City Paper's Pablo Maurer explains the supporter groups protesting DC United management over ticketing. The NY Times' Joe Drape with an alarming stat on youth soccer participation.
First annual Jordan Morris Foundation Soccer camp for kids with #T1D. What a great and rewarding experience interacting with these inspiring kids. Thank you @EastsideFC for all your support! #JMO pic.twitter.com/hh8rWvy90k— Jordan Morris (@JmoSmooth13) July 14, 2018
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